Showcase Olympus 38mm f/1.8 Pen FT

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Love the flower shots you can get in spring. This lens does really well.
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Azaleas
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Peony
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Hydrangeas
 

EdH

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A couple of shots from a dog walk yesterday – both wide open:

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EdH

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And another wide open shot where the bokeh has become perhaps a bit too busy and distracting:

O38f1.8_5.5_6.jpg
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svenkarma

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Just got one of these. Like. Interesting bokeh and flare!
(#1 cross-post)

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svenkarma

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Still stuck on the camera. Once you get used to it, the rangefinder-style aperture ring on the end of the lens makes a lot of sense.

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Short review: buy one already.

w.GX7
 
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svenkarma

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gnarlydog australia

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now, just for giggles: try to take an image of a distance subject (infinity) at f1.8 and then stopped down, let's say f5.6.
Have a look at the difference. :eek-31:
Unless I have a dud (and others I have talked to have bad ones too) I think this lens does a terrible job wide open, at distant subjects
Of course, I would love to be proven wrong.
Regardless, my copy of this lens is going on eBay :(
 

gnarlydog australia

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Why shoot distant subjects wide open? Astro?
I don't think astro would suit this lens (not wide enough?) but since it has a very interesting bokeh I would often place my subject relatively off-centre and trying to have it sharp(ish) while still trying to isolate them from the background. That is mostly the reason I often use manual focus: to have control over what I see and what I get (unlike with native AF lenses that display always at wide-open).
I know, not an everyday situation for most but certainly something that happens from time to time: evening shots where I don't have/want a tripod and I need a certain shutter speed. At f1.8 I could get what I need.
 

svenkarma

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Yeah, the f1.8 is more a focussing aid than a viable shooting length and the f2 is, I think, outperformed by my Jupiter8 50/2 on a Fuji. But the Fuji focus peaking is utter rubbish and the Jupiter8's closest focus is 0.9m v 0.35m for the PenF, so I just work within its limitations, having become a fan of the 75mm focal length.
 
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Gnarlydog, are you focussing with the viewfinder or the scale (ie turning the focus ring all the way to the end stop)? It may be your adapter is the problem not the lens. I found that when my lens is wide open and set to focus at infinity using the scale, in fact it has gone beyond that and needs to be brought back slightly to get a sharp image. If I focus with the viewfinder, I can get far away objects sharp even at f1.8.
 

gnarlydog australia

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Gnarlydog, are you focussing with the viewfinder or the scale (ie turning the focus ring all the way to the end stop)? It may be your adapter is the problem not the lens. I found that when my lens is wide open and set to focus at infinity using the scale, in fact it has gone beyond that and needs to be brought back slightly to get a sharp image. If I focus with the viewfinder, I can get far away objects sharp even at f1.8.
I know what you mean: the adapter is just a tiny bit too short, but it is not the case here.
With the VF-4 (electronic viewfinder) I use x10 magnification to really nail the focus.
I get very sharp centre but utter rubbish on the edges (very soft/blurry), when at infinity wide open at f1.8.
Not sure if it is field curvature either where the lens will focus in a curved field, instead of flat.
I have asked one other person to let me know his findings with his lens and he confirmed his copy does the same...
 

Gary5

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I know what you mean: the adapter is just a tiny bit too short, but it is not the case here.
With the VF-4 (electronic viewfinder) I use x10 magnification to really nail the focus.
I get
very sharp centre but utter rubbish on the edges (very soft/blurry), when at infinity wide open at f1.8.Not sure if it is field curvature either where the lens will focus in a curved field, instead of flat.
I have asked one other person to let me know his findings with his lens and he confirmed his copy does the same...

I think most people only use it wide open for portraits and stopped down otherwise.
 

phigmov

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svenkarma

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svenkarma

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can I assume the second image was taken with the aperture wide open?
At least this is how my copy of the 38mm f1.8 renders at distant focus, with a lot of distortion, soft image and glow :(

Yup. At f1.8 it is a bit, ahem, gnarly. I usually try and stay at f2. But I have also have a Jupiter8 50/2 and I've learned it's best not to go wider than f2.5 with that.
 

gnarlydog australia

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Yup. At f1.8 it is a bit, ahem, gnarly. I usually try and stay at f2. But I have also have a Jupiter8 50/2 and I've learned it's best not to go wider than f2.5 with that.
OK, now I understand that this lens has maybe a bit more cult status than it should, at least for my style
I have received a few days ago a "no-name" Chinese APS-C 35mm f1.6 lens that seems a fair bit better than the Zuiko 38mm, if I look at resolution alone.
Focus is super smooth and goes down to 15cm! clickless aperture for perfect transition between f-stops, compact size and mounts via a thin C-mount adapter.
12 blade aperture on the Chinese lens is so much more desirable for me than the 5 blade pentagon speckled highlights I get from the Zuiko.
Since size is what it counts for me, and that was the initial appeal of the 38mm, I now find myself with a lens that I like less than the new Chinese C-mount
There is only one thing to do: list the Zuiko on evilBay :blush:
 
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svenkarma

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Well, clickless aperture, now you're talking. I probably use the Jupiter8 on a Sony a5100 more simply because of that.
 
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